Mughal painting came with the Mughals, developed with the Mughals and ended with end of Mughal rule in India. When Mughals came in India and saw Indian (Rajasthani) painting they gave a great honour to the Indian artist. This resulted in creation of new style by the combination of India and Persian style which began to be called the Mughal style and undoubtedly unique. The following are characteristic of Mughal art….

Profile faces – Profile of face is the main characteristic of Mughal School. Almost all the portraits are EK CHASHM.

Special decoration with border – This is the main effect of Iranian art on Mughal painting. All the paintings have been decorated with the borders around it which are more ornamented.

Royal splendor – The Mughal emperors craved for royal splendor and discipline. We find typical atmosphere of royalty even in the gathering for pleasure.

Historical scenes – Mostly historical scenes have been painted in Mughal School. Maximum painting of historical scenes was done in Akbar’s time, because he gave much importance to the manuscripts paintings such as Kissa – amir- Hamza.

Fine line drawing – The beautiful thin   thick fine lines can be judged by portraits of the style. The artist has tried to paint each and every facial hard of the persons which is really wonderful.

Portrait painting – There is abundance of portrait painting in the Mughal school. Portrait of saints have also been painted along with emperors. Maximum portrait paintings were done in shahjahan’s period.

Garments – Garments are beautifully and ornamentally painted in the Mughal painting. Transparent chunni have been painted. Most of the garments are of summer season. The male figures are shown wearing Angarkha and chudidar pajamas. The use of stripling (pardaz) is shown with delicate shading.

Religious themes – There is depiction of Indian epics, mythology and love stories such as THE RAMAYANA, THE MAHABHARAT, THE NAL DAMYANTI AND PANCH TANTRA stories. There was also depiction of Islamic, Arabian and Persian episodes.

Depiction of nature – Trees, plants, rivers and mountains etc. have been beautifully depicted in Mughal art. The natural scenes painted show hunting scene battle scene, if there had been three types of trees in a painting, their leaves were painted differently with accuracy.

Ornamental designs – All the paintings of court we find, have beautiful ornamental design on walls of palace, ceiling and floors. The designs are geometrical. Floral and creepers are rhythmic and smooth.

Expression of ideas – The different sentiments have been beautifully painted in the paintings. The depiction of sad emperor, obedient servant, restless queen and nervous boatman are noteworthy. Similarly, every idea is clearly visible in the painting.

Golden and silver colours – Golden and silver colours have been mostly used in painting. In the necklaces and footwear, the golden and silver colours are used with care. N border also there is wonderful use of golden colour.

The use of calligraphy – Calligraphy on it black ink. Even artist’s name has been written beautifully.

Depiction of animals and birds – Animal and birds paintings depictions are also one of the main characteristic of Mughal art. Ustad Mansoor was the best bird painter. A falcon on a perch (bird rest) is matchless painting. Elephant fights, camel fights have been painted beautifully. Lions, tigers, horses and goats etc. have been depicted marvelously.

Natural colours – Mostly mineral and natural colours are used which are attractive in the beginning flat colours were used but later on one can also see the depth with delicate shading of colours. The appropriate colours have been applied with great care in painting.

Silent feature of Mughal School of Miniature Painting

  1. The art of court, secular and eclectic in its character.
  2. The use of calligraphy with artist name.
  3. The portraiture-delineation of fine likeness.
  4. The representation of minute details.
  5. The depiction of nature as a special study (fauna and flora).
  6. The faces are usually painted profile (EK-chasm)
  7. The use of mineral and natural colours with silver and golden.
  8. Painted border decoration used in Arabic script.
  9. The delicacy is maintained in figures and architectural forms.
  10. The depiction of court scenes, hunting and battle scenes, music and dancing scenes, processions and wedding scenes etc.
  11. The depiction of foreign and religious stories especially Islamic and Indian epics like The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, Nal- Damyanti etc.
  12. The Naturalistic treatment of landscape borrowed from European paintings.
  13. The use of stripling (Pardaz) and delicate shading.
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